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Campus recruits in jobs limbo as firms delay onboarding

Mumbai: Many engineering students from the batch of 2022 are seeking jobs in startups they had earlier spurned to take up offers from IT service firms, which have delayed onboarding until May 2023, citing a demand slowdown.

The prospects of the 2022 batch have darkened further as many companies may now choose to recruit from the new 2023 batch.

As a global recession looms, IT service firms are delaying onboarding and altering programme offers, leaving engineering graduates in a state of uncertainty. A tight job market has added to the challenges faced by the graduates.

“To facilitate this advantage for you and to better align the start of your career with the most relevant projects, we are rescheduling your employment start date to 22 May 2023,” said Infosys in an email to one of the engineering students who was offered a job in March last year. Despite being told initially of an August start date, the computer science graduate faced multiple postponements. In the correspondence in December, Infosys conveyed a further delay, setting the joining date for May.

“We understand that this may alter some of your plans, but we are keen to best position you for success as you start your career with Infosys,” the email said.

After a year of aggressive hiring from engineering colleges, the possibility of a global recession has hurt margins and forced IT firms to reschedule hiring plans.

“Hiring at Infosys is always aligned to client requirements through the year, and consequently, we spread the joining dates of various batches to align with changes in project schedules and to also ensure employees have access to the right training,” Infosys had told Mint last year.

Large IT service companies—Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, HCL Tech, Infosys and Tech Mahindra—projected a combined hiring figure of 180,000 freshers for the year at the start of FY23.

Freshers joining Wipro are also facing delays. The company told campus hires that they would need to join an alternative programme to their chosen one, accompanied by a 46% salary reduction. Wipro cited the need to “adjust onboarding plans” in response to macro-environmental changes.

But this decision has led to graduates asking why their onboardings are getting delayed if the company has place to accommodate graduates selected for other programmes.

“Wipro came to my campus in September 2021 and made offers to us in December. I was shortlisted for the Elite programme and have not been onboarded yet. I have waited for more than a year, and now there is no communication on our dates,” said a computer science engineer from Chennai.

Wipro hired students under the Elite programme (salary of 3.5 lakh), and some of them were trained in Java and full stack technologies, and made to join the Turbo programme (salary of 6.5 lakh). Now, the company has asked the latter to take up roles under the Elite programme, which means a salary cut. Those under the Elite programme are questioning their future with Wipro.

“If Turbo lot comes into our profiles, then where do we go? Other firms have a freeze,” said the Chennai-based engineer.

“In light of the changing macro environment and, as a result, our business needs, we had to adjust our onboarding plans,” Wipro responded.

A spokesperson for TCS did not respond to Mint’s queries.

Engineering graduates continue to face mounting challenges as the global slowdown persists.

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